Neil Clarke, of Clarkesworld, posted “A Concerning Trend” on a WordPress post. In the blog post, he discussed the problem of using AI Chatbots to write a science fiction story. These stories have been flooding Clarkesworld, and Neil Clarke is not happy about that.
Neil Clarke wrote: Since the early days of the pandemic, I’ve observed an increase in the number of spammy submissions to Clarkesworld. What I mean by that is that there’s an honest interest in being published, but not in having to do the actual work. Up until recently, these were almost entirely cases of plagiarism, first replacing the author’s name and then later by use of programs designed to “make it your own.” The latter often results in rather hamfisted results like this one I received in 2021:
“Sitting on its three years’ experience, the fittest Shell was originally the size of more android subliminal observations than any other single subject in the Grandma. Obey three hundred retorts can’t even a couple was issued for wages to the apparently that dropped the storage station.”
These are the same sentences, Neil Clarke wrote in his post, from the original story, “Human Error” by Raymond F. Jones, published in (April 1956).
According to Neil Clarke, towards the end of 2022, there was another spike in plagiarism, and then “AI” chatbots started gaining some attention, putting a new tool in their arsenal and encouraging more to give this “side hustle” a try. It quickly got out of hand.
There are charts on his blog post that makes it – at a glance – abundantly clear how many short stories were submitted that were likely made by AI Chatbots.
Gizmodo reported that the Hugo award-winning Science Fiction-focused Clarkesworld Magazine can receive over 12,000 submissions in just one year. That was before the proliferation of free online AI models that can write a dull, monotonous, through technically legible piece of fiction.
Gizmodo also reported that Clarkesworld Magazine editor Neil Clarke tweeted the company had closed all submissions, writing “It shouldn’t be hard to guess why”. Looking back over the past few weeks, it’s clear that fake spam submissions made using AI-based large language models has inundated the magazine’s editors with nearly 35 times the number of fake submissions as the same time last year. Clarke wrote that his magazine received 50 of these AI-generated submissions before noon on Presidents’ Day.
According to Gizmodo, Clarkesworld is one of the few major fiction publications that allows free fiction submissions, and Clarke said that restricting access to only those willing to pay to submit “sacrifices too many legit authors”.
Personally, I think it absolutely terrible that people are using AI Chat bots to make stories for them. It is especially awful when the Chatbot serves up plagiarism from another creator’s work.
Unfortunately, the extremely lazy people who don’t want to put time and effort into writing their own creative stories have caused Clarkesworld Magazine to stop accepting submissions. This hurts not only the writers who hoped to submit their stories, but also people who wanted to read them.